12-Year-Old May Hold Key to Solar Energy
andre.kesteloot at verizon.net
Sat Sep 20 10:34:22 CDT 2008
*12-Year-Old May Hold Key to Solar Energy*
Alan Henry - PC Magazine Fri Sep 19, 7:15 AM ET
One significant problem with existing solar technology is that it's not
terribly efficient at harvesting solar energy and turning it into
Solar technology is improving all the time, but one 12-year-old boy may
have the key to making solar panels that can harness 500 times the light
of a traditional solar cell. William Yuan is a seventh grader in Oregon
whose project, titled "A Highly-Efficient 3-Dimensional Nanotube Solar
Cell for Visible and UV Light," may change the energy industry and make
solar energy far easier to harness and distribute.
At the heart of Yuan's project is a special solar cell that can harness
both visible and ultraviolet light. Most solar cells in use today are
either photovoltaic, meaning they harness only visible light, or
thermal. While visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light are all heavily
scattered or absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere, ultraviolet light comes
in at shorter wavelengths and with higher energy than both visible and
infrared light. Ultraviolet light can provide more energy to a collector
than other, longer-wavelength members of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Yuan's solar cells are not just innovative for their collection of UV
light, but also because they're engineered to stand freely in three
dimensions (which allows them to collect more light) and make use of
carbon nanotubes, which allow the cell to distribute the energy it
collects without dissipating as much as traditional cells do.
Yuan is looking for a manufacturer to invest in building his new solar
cell, and likely won't have a problem finding a partner. Yuan's solar
cells have earned him a $25,000 scholarship to fund his education and
research, a fellowship at the Davidson Institute for Talent Development,
and a host of other awards in science and engineering. Yuan isn't the
only young inventor making a difference, more and more young innovators
are changing the face of clean technology.
Originally posted on GoodCleanTech.
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